Alex Caspero, MA, RD, answers common pregnancy nutrition questions. Included: Are pregnancy cravings a real thing? HUM Nutritionist Alex Caspero is expecting her first baby and we couldn’t be more excited for her! We sat down to talk about the dos and don’ts she’s living by in her pregnancy. Watch the video above or read below to see her firsthand experience and tips.
Common Pregnancy Nutrition Questions, Answered
Are pregnant food cravings an urban myth?Nope! I was so sick during the first trimester. I compare being pregnant to being hungover… but all the time. So if you think about the kinds of food you want when you’re hungover, they’re not exactly green juices and salads. I ate nothing but bagels and bread, which I normally never include in my diet, so that was challenging and different. Now that I’m feeling better, I’m trying to incorporate a lot more nutrient-dense, healthy foods.
What are major nutrition needs during pregnancy?The biggest thing I recommend to all my pregnant clients is a pre-natal vitamin. For myself—especially considering I was craving less nutrient-dense foods early on in my pregnancy—that pre-natal helps cover all the essential micronutrients I might otherwise be missing. Pre-natal vitamins are essential whether you’re trying to get pregnant or are already pregnant. They’re a little different than a multivitamin. Pre-natal vitamins have more folic acid and more iron, two vital nutrients for pregnancy. The other thing I recommend to all pregnant women, and that I take myself, is choline. Choline is an essential nutrient for healthy brain development. Some pre-natal vitamins have choline, but usually not enough, so I take a separate supplement. I also take DHA, which you can find in HUM’s OMG! Omega the Great. It’s another terrific addition for brain health. Finally, I take a vitamin D supplement.
Are there any foods that pregnant women should avoid?Yes! There are quite a few, and that list varies based on who you talk to and what you feel comfortable with. I tend not to recommend anything raw or undercooked, since you’re more susceptible to getting foodborne illness and passing that onto the baby. I know sushi is so tempting, but put it on hold! Lunch meat is another one to avoid. However, you can eat deli meat as long as it’s warmed. Deli meat can have listeria, which is a foodborne illness we don’t want to get. If you have lunch meat, just put it in the microwave for twenty seconds or so. It’ll help kill off any bacteria before you have it in your sandwich. Detoxes, cleanses, and weight-loss products should also be avoided, even when you’re breastfeeding. I know people are eager to get to their pre-baby bodies, but it’s really best to wait until you’re done nursing.
Did you notice any changes in your hair or skin since being pregnant? if so, how have you adjusted your beauty routine?It’s different for every woman. For me, everything became more sensitive. If I’m dehydrated, my skin becomes really dry. When I travel, I get more blotchiness and redness. I burn really easily in the sun, which wasn’t the case before. To combat these changes, I’ve upped my water intake and also use more potent moisturizers.
Being in your third trimester, what are you most excited to get back to in your routine after the baby comes?I stopped my normal workout routine fairly early just because it was becoming so uncomfortable. A lot of women can continue to do their physical activities throughout their whole pregnancy, but that wasn’t the case for me. I really love hot yoga, but it was hard. Even at month two or three, my body didn’t feel the same and it wasn’t as enjoyable. I’m really looking forward to getting back into the activities I love. Running is another one I really enjoy but it didn’t work out for me while pregnant.
Do you have any self-care rituals that you’ve incorporated into your pregnancy?The lucky thing about having your first baby is there’s a lot of self-care you can give. I’ve been pretty indulgent. I allow myself naps when I want them. I’ve really been getting into pre-natal yoga and barre classes. I splurged on some of those packages because they’re easy to do, they’re great for pregnant women, and they allow me to still do some physical activity without it being as high-intensity as my pre-pregnancy workouts.
Pregnancy Nutrition Questions CheatsheetThank you, Alex! To read more of her tips and recipes, check out her blog, Delish Knowledge, which includes a recent post on intuitive eating during pregnancy.
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